Friday, March 13, 2015

Home Depot Roadie Trip

 

Assembly work prepping for spring has slowed down a bit.  With nuthin' to do, the bossman suggested that I go help out in Oxford.  Then he suggested a stop in Tupelo.  Winner, winner, chicken dinner!  Decided to head to Tupelo first, and requested 2 nights at the Hampton, in Oxford.

Bossman gave me the details:  20 cents per mile round trip, $15 a day per diem, and Company prepaid hotel room, at a place of their choosing.  Can you say "Super 8 Motel", OMG, thoughts of critter bugs, nasty room run thru my head.  And, could not wait to spend that $15 per diem! Lol!

Three hours later, I'm at my first stop.  My contact already had work ready for me.  27 riding lawn mowers.  Holy mother of grass cutting!  We get $15 to take these things off the crate, unwrap them, hook up the battery, and attach the seat and steering wheel.  Worst part is getting them off the pallets, since there is very little gas in them.  I get 6 done, then the HD guy starts lifting them off the pallets with his fork lift!  I'm loving this guy!  First time ever!  Time and back saver!  Since I got a late start, it took the rest of the day to finish the riders and then 5 other items needing assembly.  Bossman called to check on my progress, then shut me down so the regular guy would have some work the next day.  Dang it!

Got all my paperwork done, then headed off to the City of Oxford and that fabulous Super 8 hotel room!  Arrived at my destination, and time for check-in.  Clerk right off the bat apologized for being new.  Oh boy, there's your sign....  I asked her to put my Wyndham Reward number on the room, for da points.  She said, oh crap, this room was booked thu Expedia.com, and they haven't taught me how to do that yet.  Oh boy....  She prints out a my room assignment, and I then discover that its a smoking room.  After finding a "non-smoking" room in the system, she had to call her supervisor because of that dang Expedia reservation!  After 40 minutes, finally a room!

I find my quarters, inserted the key, opened the door, and bam! the smoke knocks me back on the balcony!  Went in, used the can, then back to the lobby for a key swap.  Second room, same thing, at least I grabbed the shampoo for my troubles.  Third room was the charm, but no shampoo!  Glad I clipped it from room number 2!  The channel buttons on the tv remote didn't work, had to punch in each channel number from the channel guide.  After my shower, I discover that I had to dry off using the "towelettes" that they had hanging.  I felt like a strip tease act, with my wide ass and those little towels!

Next day, I did my thang at the Oxford Home Depot.   I assembled all but 10 grills, leaving them for the regular guy,  Finishing around 4, then went to get the paperwork done.  Turns out the only feller that could key my crap into the system left for the day just as I got to the receiving department!  Glad I had another night's stay at the Super 8!

The Super 8 parking lot was full, mostly with a variety of service trucks.  Everybody that pulled up tool their tool bags into their rooms for safekeeping.  One feller on the first floor had propped his door open with his work boots.  He was stationed in one of the chairs, just outside the door.  There were three empty Old Milwaukee Light cans on the ground, and one in his hand.  As I walked up the stairs he let out the biggest burp!  Guessing that was his breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Got my paperwork done the next morning.  I'm done.  Ok, since I'm here, I gotta try out something new.  Big Bad Breakfast one out.  Its on North Lamar in a strip center on the left.  Its amazing that there are establishments that make a living just on breakfast!

The special of the day was a smoked snapper cake topped with eggs benedict.  OMG was it good!





 
 
 
The cooks in the back were all black.  You know that they were adding some soul to all at food on the flat top!


You know that the food has to be good when the syrup dispenser is stuck to the counter!
Bill Weems's photo.

The feller next to me, ordered the "big bad breakfast" that comes served in a small cast iron skillet.  I think it had everything, including the kitchen sink in it!  He only ate a third, the rest went "to go"!  That bad boy is definitely on my must try list!

I'm making my way home on Hwy 6 and I notice that a brand new Dolla Gentral is going in on the left.  This will be a tailgating delight for those that fergot some of their supplies!  The rest of the ride was uneventful.

I walk into the house, and I'm attacked by the love of two dachshunds.  I  sat down for a quick nap, covered in weiner dog. woke up, felt the top of my head for my for my glasses. Nope. Searched the couch, oh Shit! I looked at Otis (he has done this before), and very "nicely" asked him where was my !@@##$$ glasses! He took off behind the couch! Guilty as charged! Runaway weiner! Oscar just looked up at me with that look "wasn't me, remember, I was in your lap the whole time"! Searched the bathroom, bedroom, living room and all parts in between. Otis still behind the couch, yep, GUILTY! Call to the spousal unit for suggested hiding places. Re-traced steps. Called the optical buddy and placed an order for replacements. Stripped the bed, no luck. got down on the floor to look under the bed. Suddenly something slips off my nose. GLASSES!!!!! 30 minutes Otis comes out from under cover.   Cancelled the replacements.  back to loving on My Bestie Boys!

Ready for the next roadie trip!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

First Born

It started with a homemade pizza.  Thick crust, lots of cheese, and every known meat item I could find.  Then, she felt a pain, the another, then, "I've gotta take a walk!"  Onset of labor, around 8 p.m.  Pizza got finished, don't recall ever taking a bite.  It was the last homemade pizza I've made, 28 years ago.

Twelve hours later, at 8:34 a.m., I became Daddy Bill!  Baby boy, Matthew Lamar Weems, 6lbs, 12 oz, and 20 1/4 pounds of pure joy.  Got the Baby Momma and cub home to the waiting rocking chair!  Baby Momma had herself a cry.  I was hoping it was one of those good kinda cries. It was!

Baby Momma had to have a C-section, so I got the first two weeks of Baby Daddy duty.  Learned real quick to put a diaper over the fire hose.  Never will forget the smell of those first dirty diapers, good God!  That diaper genie was the best gift ever!

Maw-in-law showed up to help.  First night home from work, she had five pots going on our four burner stove.  I thought "oh Lord, help me!"  Matthew did not like his bath at all.  He'd scream bloody murder til he was covered in his hoodie towel.  First words out of Maw-in-law's mouth were "you're scrubbing that baby's head too hard!" (cradle cap prevention).  Next night it was her turn.  Yep! My turn!  Hey!  "you're scrubbing that baby's head too hard!"  We both got a good laugh outta that!

Learning to ride a bicycle was easy.  Bike, Matthew and me, in the street.  One push, and off he went!  I thought, damn1 That was easy.  Then I hear, "Dad! How do I stop???!!!"  In the ditch he went.  Got back up and at it again!

I had the pleasure of learning about coaching with this one.  First soccer game, he would not go on the field.  We both stood out there together, life two oak trees with deep roots.  To get the feet moving for the next game, I offer him $5 for each goal he scored.  Four goals the very next game.  Four more over the next three.  Worth every penny!

Baseball became more challenging.  T-ball was the best ever!  Then coach pitch, Buddy Ball.  As the coach, you or one of the assistants get to pitch to your team.  The player gets up to five pitches to hit the ball, then you are out of strikes.  I gave up game day pitching real quick, off to the batting cage I went!  The father-son relationship struggle begins early.  While in the field of play, Matthew was not interested in defense on this day.  I finally looked at him and said "fine, head to the dugout!"  I look up, and four other players followed him right in! 

We have now moved up to a bigger bike.  "Dad.  Build me a ramp for jumping."  I ask how high.  You sure?  Ok, ramp built.  First run, he got plenty of speed.  Matthew hits the ramp, and up in the air he went!  Problem was landing.  Bam!  Both tires hit the pavement, for a perfect landing.  Matthew's landing, not so perfect.  Upon landing, the seat went right through his private area, and over int the grass he went!  Somebody forgot to use his knees as shock absorbers!  That boy was singing soprano for weeks!

Middle school had its challenges.  Matthew had a reading assignment, but couldn't seem to find the time to make it to the library to get a book.  He was real good at blaming the teacher.  My patience had run thin.  I called a dear friend of mine that was the librarian, to see if she could assist Matthew in picking out a book for this assignment.  Matthew gets home that afternoon, "Dad, I'm gonna kill you!"  He got pulled out of home room class by the librarian, and had his book!  No more problems with trips to the library after that!

High School Band.  Oh what fun!  I volunteered to be treasurer and also take care of concessions.  After the first game, I told Matthew how good they sounded! (What do I know???)  Matthew said "It sucked!"  I ask why?  Turns out Matthew didn't get to play his saxophone the first two games.  He would play what he wanted to play, so the Band Director had the drum Major pull his reed.  Result:  no sound!  I called in a favor with the assistant band director, with assurances that all his future notes would be sweet!

Matthew made it through high school, then two years of "see you at Hinds" then he did a three year tour of USM.  Graduation day was a wonderful thing!  We always told him to chase his dream, but he had to have a college degree.  After a sputter, He and his band mates made it to Nashville, with dream in hand!

Nashville lasted a year.  Dream has been chased, but he's got his college degree.  Rut row, guess who just moved back home???  He can now say, "hey Hinds!  I'm back!"  He is now focused in a different direction, and has a wonderful girlfriend to keep him on track.

Today is Matthew's 28th birthday, and my 28th year of being a Dad.  Thanks for the ride son!  The memories we've created are forever etched in my brain.  There are more to come because this ride is no where near over!

Love,

DAD

First date was the high school dance.  The spousal unit and I got to chauffer the lovely couple.  I was very careful with this cargo, driving below the speed limit, with the emergency flashers on!  Needless to say, that was my last job as his chauffer!

Friday, February 20, 2015

working again

A year ago I was house bound with little to do except for the daily routine that I had established for myself.  The unemployment checks had run the course, and my internet job searches had gone idle. I had put some weight, and my knee joints  were now showing more and more aches and pains.

I have been traveling with the spousal unit on her work travels.  As you know, the bus driver eats free.  I began a search for contract employment that would allow me the freedom to accompany the spousal unit on her travels.

My search led me to a position that was posted on Craig's List.  There was a job posted for an assembly technician.  Being one that doesn't like reading instructions, this might be a challenge.  I applied for the job, got a call, and the next thing I knew, my mouth was being swabbed for a drug test.  I was now an official assembly technician!

My first day I was to meet my trainer at one of the local Home Depots.  We started with the grills.  I removed the contents of the box and grabbed the instruction book.  My trainer said "we ain't got time for that.  Watch me!". A year later, I very rarely open the instruction guide :-).

Now, a year later, I'm a few pounds lighter, and inch or two thinner, and the pains in my knee joints has moved yo all of my muscle groups!  I gave up the tub years ago, but now the soaker tub is my sanctuary, with bubbles, of course!

I have not used an alarm since my separation from my old desk job.  Except for the muscle pains, I wake up ready to attack the day. There is no supervision, and occasionally I have been assigned the task of training the " new guy". The pay is piece work, the more you work, the more you get paid.

I recently received my 1099 from the Company.  The amount was around 10% of what I was making at the old desk job.  At this stage of my life its not about the money.  I'm keeping myself busy, working my muscle groups, and was never this happy in my previous life as a bean counter.

Funny thing, my employer required me to sign a nondisclosure agreement, buying my silence.  All I had to say back then was a silent"thank you" for the freedom it gave me.   Three years later, the terms of the agreement have been fulfilled.  Now, the only thing I have to say is "don't worry, I'm happy.  Have a margarita and I'll be at the beach!"

The biggest regret, was the loss of the relationships with my fellow coworkers and the friendships that were developed over 30 years.  But hey, I now have a whole new set of folks to get to know, and these customers are continually cracking me up with their questions and requests!

Any advise I can offer is to love what you do.  Life is literally far too short to spent it doing something you hate.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Weird

Its weird how some things happen, some for a reason, others that make you go hum?

Yesterday, I starting getting the itch to build another ice chest cooler box.  No particular reason, the process is good therapy for me when my mind gets cluttered.  Then, last night a buddy sends me a FB message.  He needs one of my coolers.  Love how that happens!

Been living life for the last three years as a guy that got put to pasture at the age of 55.  Not my choice.  Had reached the point where, I needed a change.  I was not happy,  taking way too many pills, and hated going to work every day.  Spent two of the past three years looking for employment, with no luck.  Then I find an ad on Craigslist for an assembly technician.  Been doing it for a year now, love it!  Made 10% of what I used to make, but hey, its not about the money, its about doing something you enjoy!  I have become the "preferred technician" at several of the stores I service.  (Helps to have a supportive soulmate.)

I've had to tweak my spending habits a bit.  Trying to stretch my dollars until I reach the ripe old age on 59 and a half.  Lots of less:  less shopping, less eating out, less entertainment.  Monday, I open an envelope, and find a check made out to me, one that would be coming in a few years.  Turns out, a guideline was amended for an early disbursement.  My lucky day!  Still gonna be tweaking that lifestyle til it becomes routine.

I was in Madison last week, doing my contract work at the movie theater.  Decided to get a BBQ sammich.  Ran into my old banker from my working days.  Been work friends for 30 years.  Have not seen him in over three years.  He is not a facebooker, so we had some catching up to do.  His face lit up when he saw me. I think mine was brighter than his!  Lots of small talk, got a reminder of what I used to like about my old job.  He was glad to see that I was the "same old Bill"!

I haven't used an alarm clock since my career change.  I wake up when my body says to, usually around this time of the morning (6 am).  Always early.  Hard to be late when you enjoy what you do!

Hoping to experience a few more " weirds" along this path I'm taking.  Liking them so far.......

Growd Up

Its weird.  How does it happen?  You wake up one morning and discover that all of a sudden your children are all grown up!

The oldest will be 28 next month and yet he is still standing at that fork in the road of life, not knowing which path to take.  Dude, sometimes its one step forward and two steps back, but don't just stand there!  He's been asking for a nudge, one way, or the other.  I learned early with this one, to point him to the mirror.  His decisions will be his own, not gonna blame me for those hickups that come along the way.

The youngest, now 22, snuck up on me.  I thought that we had a good communication pathway.  Turns out I was just hearing myself talk.  He's making adult decisions on his own now.  Some, not so smart, but he gets back up, and moves on.  Last three semesters of college will not phase him.  He will succeed.

Both have girl friends.  Both are very different.  One, I think, has figured out that my bark is way worse than my bite.  The other, no where close.  I have to remind myself that the boys get to pick the girls.  Mom and Dad, here she is, deal with it. God knew what he was doing when he gave me boys.  He forgot to remind me about girl friends and potential daughter in laws.  Yep, I've definitely got work to do on this one.

Funny that there is no user manual for being a human being.  You start off as a son or daughter.  You mature and possibly become a husband or wife.  Then, if you are real lucky, you get an opportunity to be called Momma or Daddy.  So far, I've bent a lot of nails and stripped quite a few screws along this path called life.  Got two more chances, "in-law" and "grandpop".  Hoping the game of life gives me a new set of strikes and outs and maybe some extra innings for these next adventures, assuming those days come my way!


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Thief in the Night

I grew up in the Mississippi Delta, a place where your personal safety and the security of your possessions were second thought.  The door to the house was never locked, and car doors were locked, only if you ventured to the "big city".

To this day, I've never been one for locks, especially in my own driveway, thinking why lock the door, when a thief is just gonna knock out your window to get what he's after.  I do lock up when parked away from the house, just as a small deterant to " walk by " thievery.

Yesterday I was headed to Clinton to do some assembly work at Home Depot.  Backing up, I noticed that the hatchback light came on.  Sometimes the door doesn't get shut all the way.  No biggie, I just hopped out and re-shut it.  I also stopped at the local Kroger to fill up my tank.  It wasn't til I reached my final destination, to find I had been violated during the night.  I parked my car, got a shopping cart to my tools, and then opened the hatch.  My first look, something looks strange.....

My rolling tool bag was gone.  Work table, and everything else was there.  Son of a bitch!  Got assembly work to do, a big day, and no tools!

Apparently, during the night, some lowlife cruised several neighborhoods looking for treasures.  My car has tinted windows, so nothing is exposed to the onlooker, especially at night.  They came looking for cars that are unlocked.  Bingo!  Tool bag!  Awesome find!  My unlucky day.

I called the spousal unit and told her my misfortune.  She placed a call to the Rankin County Sheriff's office for me, since I was in Clinton.

The Deputy took down all the vital info he needed,  since I had already made my initial repurchase of tools I needed for the day, I had a very good idea of the cost of the items stolen.  I've already exceeded $400 to replace tools, just to do my work for the day.

It appears that the tools are gone forever.  According to the Deputy, these crackheads don't bother going to pawn shops anymore.  They are easily profiled, so to avoid detection, they just sell the stuff on the street for their quick fix for the day.  If somehow they are caught before they dispose of the bounty, this would be the only chance for recovery.

Before the Deputy left, he mentioned that there was another theft in my neighborhood, so far.  The case file would remain open for a while, because it is a certainty, there will be more.

I was a bit disappointed that the thief didn't come back for more tools.  I've got a nail gun that I wanted to introduce him to.  The only comfort that I can find in this, is the Sheriff Department is out there, trying to keep me and the other residents of Rankin County safe.

I hope that the thief got a good price for my stuff so that he could have enough money for a really good fix.  I take pleasure in the thought that the theft of my tools have in some way contributed to the distruction of this guy's internal organs and most likely, an early grave.

It is now official, my doors will always be locked, and my garage door will be down. (Son's expensive road bike disappeared a year ago, off the wall, in the corner, out of sight, from passerby's.). I have been violated, and things will never be the same, what a shame.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fall Ball 2014, That's a Wrap!

Well, except for conference champions and bowl games, the 2014 season has come to an end. Its been quite a year, with both teams exceeding initial expectations.  Both will be receiving their rewards for a job well done with a New Years holiday trip to some place warm, whether its outside or in a cozy dome.  For that, all fans should be excited and grateful.

For my household, its been a tiring but exciting journey.  Trips together to Starkville and Oxford and a couple of "divorced" weekends where we went our separate ways to support our respective teams.

The atmosphere on both campuses has been electric.  Tailgating at its best, with all the colors, smells and sounds that just pull you end.  Visits by both ESPN Game Day, and SEC Nation to both campuses just added to the excitement.

Seeing both stadiums full to capacity and the noise levels deafening just sends tingles up and down your spine.  The roars of "Hotty Toddy" and "HailState" have never been louder!  The sounds of clanging cowbells are still ringing in my ears!

The Spousal unit and I shared extended weekends on both campuses this year.  We both took in our first "Cowbell Yell” where we learned to " ring responsibly" and how to do the school cheers.  My birthday weekend was spent on the Square in Oxford on a Friday night, taking in some awesome meals and visiting with friends who spotted us from a balcony.  Old times come back like it was yesterday when you are with the right people.

Game days are like no other.  Tents are set up in school colors.  TVs are setup with satellite hookups to the latest game on the air and neighbors are openly invited to join the viewing.  Every imaginable thing to eat is there, all you need is the appetite, "come on in and have a plate"!

You meet up with friends, old and new.  You share stories of games past, brag on your kids, and say " boy, things sure have changed since I was here!". Soon, its game time, and its off to the stadium you go.

The games are now over and the clock is at zero for the last time.  Its time to put away all the tailgating gear.  Tents, tables, chairs and decor off to storage. Table linens, Chafing dishes are put away, and recipes are sorted and filed away, some are always a favorite, some never to return.

Its funny to see the evolution of tailgating.  First, it was out of the trunk of the car, with a blanket and card table or two.  Then the portable affordable tent arrived, along with the bag chair.  Suddenly ice chests had wheels.  Then, small quiet generators found their way, with satellite dishes and flat screen TVs not far behind.  With the arrival of restricted parking, now its the foldable collapsable little red and blue wagons in tow, loaded down with all the supplies and goodies for the day!  Its got me wondering, OK, what's going to be the next big thing in tailgating.

Me, I'm glad its over, time to recharge.  Now we've got eight month of planning to do it all over again.  Hotty Toddy and #hailstate!  See you next fall!